September 26, 2016

Debate thread

I don't know exactly how this thing is going to go, but my hunch is that Trump will try to make a show of strength tonight, hang back in the second debate, and come back strong again in the final debate.

Some are saying he's going to go easy and grow stronger over time -- that's not how he did it in the primaries. He came out swinging in the first debate, and in his announcement speech. After making the first impression, he hung back a little bit -- skipping the debate before the first primary, in Iowa. Then he turned it up to 11 toward the end of debate season after Lyin' Ted and Little Marco went nuclear on him.

There's too much excitement and hype over tonight, so he can't fail to deliver. That doesn't mean he's going to pummel her into submission, but it could mean key moments of focused, righteous anger like he showed about "New York values" and the Bush legacy ahead of the South Carolina primary.

Once the initial shock of the audience has worn off after this debate, they won't be so invested in the second one. So play that one more low-key. And the second debate will take place during a relative slump in Trump's polling (whether he's ahead of her or not). The second will serve more as an intermission for the audience.

Then end with a bang in the third debate. His polls will be gaining again by then, and improving over the second debate will leave a little "upward trend" in the minds of voters, giving them enough momentum to get them out on Election Day.


  1. On Fox Biz, in background, Ali Vitali is smoothing her hair like crazy while talking to Corey "Throw Her To the Ground" Lewandowski.

    So much going on behind the scenes that the audience rarely catches a glimpse of.

    He may have gotten cockblocked by her gay eunuch, though (Jeremy Diamond).

  2. From what I gather Trump didn't bomb but he needed to come out there swinging. The narrative coming out of it will be that Hillary won.

    It won't be a decisive, game-changing moment in the campaign but I think it's a wash overall.

  3. Random Dude on the Internet9/26/16, 11:16 PM

    I give Trump the slight edge. The first 30 minutes was amazing for Trump and this was the performance I was expecting for the entirety of the debate. Unfortunately that did not happen but fortunately people would drop out later and later where he did much weaker so most of the people watching saw Trump at his best.

    Lester Holt was deliberately antagonistic towards Trump but no way was Holt going to take the heat Matt Lauer did so we can't be surprised there. It's a preview of what to expect for the second debate. Chris Wallace will probably be the easiest out of the three for Trump but there will be no pro-Trump moderator.

    I don't think it will do much in terms of polling impact. There was no clear winner and nothing that people haven't heard for the past two months. Here's hoping Trump does much better for the remaining two debates.

  4. This bullshit debate was crafted by and for the elites who live in mega-cities, and who wanted Trump to give them something to pounce on and spazz out about for the next week.

    Mission: accomplished. Praising stop-and-frisk -- problematic, racist. Endless talk about birtherism -- problematic, racist. What's in those tax returns -- problematic, possibly racist if he gave money to the Hitler Memorial Fund or whatever.

    As for convincing undecided voters or clawing back the exodus of working-class Dems to Trump? Big fat fail.

    Normal people don't care about 90% of what they were talking about, and that's the fault of the moderator / media (working-class people are not dumb, and will place blame where it belongs).

    The Bernie people who I saw commenting on Facebook (brother and his network) only responded emotionally to one thing -- Trump's line about releasing tax returns after she releases the 30,000 emails (another liked that Trump went after the Fed). Otherwise they acted above it all, thought it was a joke, and are still persuaded NOT to vote for Crooked Hillary. (Most favoring Johnson)

    She landed a few punches -- what's in tax returns (people care, although not enough to put him behind in polls), and framing tax plan as only for the wealthy rather than for all brackets (lowest will pay zero).

    She also skated on being controlled by Wall Street donors, Clinton Foundation corruption, and Saudi influence. That was Trump going too easy on her.

    The second half that the yuppies are hyping up (ecstatic if Dem, worried if GOP), was more like a mosquito buzzing around Trump and stinging him a bunch of times. Guaranteed no one who matters in the election will remember any of it in a week.

    Trump landed more solid punches -- she's supported trade deals that have sent the good jobs out of our country, she acts holier-than-thou and it doesn't work, she's been in office forever and hasn't made our country any better, and the punch that broke the bone -- she may have more experience BUT IT'S BAD EXPERIENCE (memorable ending).

  5. These debates have not affected the polling or election results, which all the signs are saying is going to the opposition party this time.

    If they have no effect, Trump could basically phone them in and not suffer on Election Day.

    But it's also important to utterly annihilate the crumbling Clinton empire, so he might as well trash the hell out of her record next time or the time after that. And not off-the-cuff, to parry one of her attacks, which will strike the audience as "just" debating about personal qualities.

    I mean, preparing the list and beating her over the head with it, in a tone of righteous anger and disgust. Trump does well when he's fed up with the Establishment's shit and says it's a mess and a disgrace. That's what normal Americans feel, and that would galvanize more than going in with little prep because it has not effect on the election.

  6. I'd say Trump won the first 40 minutes, then did worse when Holt started pestering him with gotcha questions. His early attacks on trade, NAFTA, etc. were solid, but he wasted too much time later with rambling defenses against ambush questions (remember that his most memorable self-defense ever was very short: "Only Rosie O'Donnell").

    Hillary was Ted Cruz redux: very scripted and wonky, with a constant smug little smile that I really doubt will play well with Joe Sixpack. Whereas Trump sounded legitimately pissed off about the sorry state of our trade deals, our inner cities, and our foreign policy, she babbled a bunch of boilerplate about clean energy jobs and training police to be less racist and an "intelligent surge" in the Middle East. The contrast between New Broom Outsider and Status Quo Insider was pretty sharp IMO.

    That said, I really wish Trump would've gone after her more. There were tons of openings to hit her on the e-mails, her pay-for-play corruption, her lack of achievements in the Senate and State, her paid speeches to Wall Street, etc., and he let a few too many of them sail past the plate for me to be fully satisfied. I have to imagine he was strongly advised to not hit too hard too soon, maybe he's saving that approach for the final debate.

    Anyway, those issues are still live for future debates, whereas in this one the moderator emptied the whole mag at Trump (tax returns, bankruptcies, Birtherism, sexist comments, 1973 discrimination lawsuit, support for Iraq War) and drew very little blood. The lack of any pointed questions about Hillary's weak points was glaring by contrast and fully supports the "MSM is shilling for Hillary" narrative.

    In summary: no decisive gaffes by anyone, Hillary's drug cocktail held her together, MSM outlets will declare her the winner but online polls will all favor Trump, and probably not many minds will be changed.

  7. The hypocrisy of Lester Holt admonishing the audience to keep down their voices in the interest of fairness, while I lob softballs at Crooked Hillary and act like the Spanish Inquisition toward Trump, was unreal.

    It really brought home how phony their whole cult of decorum is, for the same individual to so bald-facedly talk out of both sides of his mouth.

    He just cut the public's trust in the media by another 10 points.

    I can't wait until Trump's head of the Antitrust Division and FCC bust up the media monopoly, so we can't get some damn honest journalists again.

  8. I thought Trump won the entire thing. I also thought he won, *going away*, that notorious first Republican primary debate when the moderators were downright nasty (Baier: we had a protocol in place to walk him out if he got out of hand; yeah, we could tell). Back then, everyone declared him the loser and even Trump supporters were critical. I was moderately anti-Trump going into that debate and emerged fervently pro-Trump; felt like I was in the Twilight Zone afterward, did I just watch the same debate as all these "yuppies"?

    Deja vu, only this time, everything was much less extreme and everyone is much more subdued and cautious in assessments.

    I agree with Agnostic about what really matters. I disagree with the notion voiced elsewhere that Trump did worse in the latter part of the debate, or more accurately, could have been better (this is also very similar to criticisms in that first Republican debate where Trump turned in a "terrible" performance by being defensive, unfocused, thin-skinned, etc)...

    Here is what's throwing off the yuppies, even those on our side: this is missing the forest for the trees. Anyone can always be better. Clinton could have been better. That righteous indignation and disgust Agnostic mentioned as well as strength, authoritativeness, fluidity of thought (showing passion and concern)... *nothing* in Clinton's formulaic responses, one-liners, and recitation of facts can overcome that he had this, even in "imperfect" answers, and she did not.

  9. Lester Holt didn't bother me as a Trump supporter for two main reasons:

    He started off the debate on jobs and the economy, which I saw as a sop to Trump. I mean, why else would you put that front and center otherwise, lol!

    I think voters do a good job of judging and weighing bias. Trump emerging strong after a confrontation with severely biased mods (Kelly, Baier, etc.) is judged better than moderately biased (Holt) and so on. I'll go further and add it's usually better to have an antagonistic mod than a friendly one.
    Romney didn't have the stuff to overcome Candy Crowley, but Trump does, and we all learn this watching him. Most people don't.

    1. An analogy of the risk/reward in the context of a debate moderator would be gymnastics routines. A top-level gymnast might opt for a more difficult routine, but it will have more possible points. She's more likely to stumble, but the reward is greater should she nail it. Only once, the second Fox News debate*, did he stumble, so tough moderators are good for Trump.

      *They learned quickly from the first debate and just outsmarted him with a focus on traps that would be most likely to separate him from his populist base. As conservatives, they had a huge advantage over other moderators in knowing what makes, well, people like us, tick.

  10. It's just a Rorschach test; the majority of viewers took out of the debate what they brought into it. The ninnies who can't make up their mind didn't have any doubts allayed. Trump is extemporaneous to a far greater degree than not just politicians or lawyers, but even ordinary folk. To viscerally sensitive salt of the Earth people, this is a plus. But the majority of fence sitters are either alienated cynics or nerds who think emotion and intuition are toxic, so they want Trump to stick to a comfortable script. Until that happens they're not going all in with Trump.

    Fortunately, Hillary did little to sway fence sitters either. Scott Adams said that she still looks rough, and her facial expressions and head movements are misaligned even after weeks of light activity and high tech medical care. She also spent a lot of time scolding Trump and implying that Trump was more bad than she was good. Not an effective way to motivate anyone; Trump himself said, in one of his better moments, "sure she's got experience, but that experience proves that she's clueless".

    And did y'all hear the crowd's approval when Hillary defended her schedule by saying that her break was spent preparing? Who the hell was at this debate? In case anyone forgot, Hillary collapsed several weeks ago. You don't go off-line two months before an election to "prepare" for the oh so important first debate. Hilary's a lawyer whose been consulting with advisors/handlers/researchers for months. She's got every Trump weakness/controversy drilled into her brain. And she's been refining how to deflect stuff away from her and onto her enemies for decades. Trump should've jabbed her for her lame excuse, especially after the sycophants fawned over it.

    I think you'd have to go back to Nixon/Kennedy to see such a left brain (heart) vs. right brain (head) approach. Trump's still approaching every social encounter like a negotiator feeling his way along. Hillary on the other hand has it all meticulously planned out to be as self-serving and flattering as possible (assuming her meds hold up). The good news is that however Trump can struggle to articulate exactly why he's right and she's wrong, he still doesn't allow himself to be defined and disrespected by media yuppies, cuckservatives, and modern liberals. Thus the "defensiveness".What is he supposed to do? When "respectable" opinion slid way left in the 2nd Bush term, every Republican was going to be crucified regardless of their actual character. McCain refused to fight back (at one point famously admonishing a conservative supporter who said that Obama was a Muslim). So did Romney. What good did it do them? They mostly ignored the hostility of the media towards conservatives, encouraged the kid gloves treatment of Obama, and stuck to the familiar culture war ground and muh small government rhetoric.Outside of the GOP faithful, not enough people cared about their presentation enough to vote for the Republican in such numbers that victory was attained.

    The GOP has it's first genuine fighter leading the ticket since Reagan. Reagan was ridiculed as a dangerous rube by the "intellectual" and party elite set. Yet he and several skilled allies ultimately overcame the questions and attacks. Trump plainly doesn't have the confident ease of Reagan, but still it's worth noting that Trump, like Reagan, is gradually building a sense among people that they shouldn't be guided by snobby self-appointed experts when it comes to deciding who to vote for. Partisanship, and astonishing levels of media bias and PCness mean that Trump won't get the support that Reagan once did. But he'll likely get just enough support to win.

  11. BTW, Trump is tied in Minn., per Gravis/Breitbart.

    The breakdown had some interesting stuff regarding terrorism/security concerns. 47% said they were very concerned about controlling the border/immigration, while 17% said they were somewhat concerned. Perhaps the knife rampage has finally caused some people to wake up, 71% said they were concerned about an attack happening in their area. 57% said they disapproved of Obama's refugee handling. Just 10% reported being Evangelical, which only further shows what a drag the hard Christian right has been on the GOP. Virtue signalling to a tiny minority of a Christian sect and Jews does not win elections.

  12. Minnesota is a deep blue state in the sense of how likely it is for Democrats to win -- virtually always, since the New Deal. The margins may go up or down, but that's what changes, not who wins it.

    Obama won it by under 8 points last time, but that's widening over time.

    If it's close in the polling, it will all come down to the last-minute deciders. If you're a fence-sitting wimp, and in Minnesota no less, you're more likely to give in to the socially safe choice -- Clinton.

    Maybe it'll be a close race this time (under 5 points), but that wouldn't be unheard of -- the whole Lutheran Triangle (MN, WI, IA) was under 5 points as recently as 2000.

    Iowa is looking good -- no exposure to the Great Lakes. But I think the cucky conformism will make the undecideds keep WI and MN blue.


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